Books to get you through a crisis

As you know, and as I’ve mentioned, it’s been a weird week. (That link is fairly NSFW, but sums up the feeling of the week even though I didn’t even have to deal with the craziness of a city-wide lock down.)

During this week, I was thinking about the things that bring me comfort in times of crisis and the bizarre vicissitudes of life. I’ve written before about how random Internet kitties are comforting but books can be comforting, too. Those that I find the most comforting are the ones that I’ve read before. There’s something about knowing what the next development is, what the plot twist will be, that relieves stress. You don’t have to worry about a surprise and the tragic character deaths that you know are coming are still heartrending, but at least you know about them.

My kitty on a pedestal of pillows and blankets. Comforting to see. :)
My kitty on a pedestal of pillows and blankets. Comforting to see. 🙂

I was thinking about the books I’ve reread the most often: The Lord of the Rings books; the Time Traveler’s Wife; Jane Eyre; Tess of the D’Urbervilles; Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Gold Cell by Sharon Olds (congrats on winning the Pulizter, Sharon, see you at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in a few weeks!); American Gods; The Book of the Dun Cow. I look at that list and see that a lot of the titles are sad; there’s comfort and catharsis in that sadness. Allow the sadness and the comfort of the expected to get you through whenever you have a weird week.

So if you re-read books, what do you re-read? Do you find comfort in knowing what’s coming next? If so, I wish you happiness in your reading and re-reading. Take comfort in that and hope for better weeks ahead.

P.S. Shameless self promotion – if you haven’t seen my YALSA Hub blog post yet, it’s here! Huzzah!

7 thoughts on “Books to get you through a crisis

  1. For comfort reading, I usually turn to something short that I’ve read a dozen times before. A short story by Raymond Carver or John Updike does the trick, or maybe some poetry by Emily Dickinson.

    I just finished Jane Eyre for the first time, and I can see how that would work.

  2. Re-reading is comforting. My most frequent re-reads are probably some of the books I first read in middle school or high school (The Golden Compass, etc. comes to mind) and definitely The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I more or less have memorized by now. I find that if I leave a long enough period of time (years) between re-reading mysteries, I sometimes forget the twists and turns, so I enjoy them again with only a vague idea of what’s coming next.

  3. I love to reread for comfort, too. Time Traveler’s Wife is one I’ve reread a few times, too, and I’ve reread the Harry Potter series over and over. Other books I reread frequently are Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series and Rowan series, the Wrinkle in Time quartet, the Percy Jackson series, and Pride and Prejudice, and recently, the Hunger Games trilogy. I like the more escapist stuff to pull me out of reality for a while.

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